It's been a year since I made the switch to freelance work. Its possibly the best decision I've made but also a scary/exciting and relatively crazy one. There is no blueprint for exactly how you should make the step into freelance employment. I pretty much jumped straight into the deep end and hoped it would work out. At the time, I was in a place of 'if I don't do this now, I'll never do it'. As its something I've been wanting to do for a while (ever since school, I always dreamt of being self employed and doing my own thing) I decided to take a leap of faith and follow my dreams. I have a post coming up over on Diary of a Freelancer on the lessons I've learnt but for now, I thought I'd give a few pointers that might help you if you're thinking of going into freelance work at some point.
1. Get experience
A relatively straightforward approach. You don't necessarily need experience writing for different publications as writing on your own blog is putting yourself out there. As blogs generally have an informal tone, I'd recommend writing a few formal articles on your blog that you can add to your portfolio or attach as part of applications. If you're willing to write for companies for free to get experience, have a look on indeed and search for 'blogger' or 'writer' in the search bar as jobs are always popping up on there. You could also ask to guest post on other blogs too.
2. Write a cover letter/about me
For many freelance jobs, you may not need to send your CV. To give you an idea, I'm only just putting a CV together after a year of freelancing so at this point you really don't need one to get jobs. However, clients do want to know about what you can do - your skills, experiences, areas of expertise. Its handy to have a cover letter or an about me letter that you can send to clients when applying for jobs. If you're applying via a freelance site or via email, you'll need one. It will sound professional and help you to get that vacancy. I'll be going through this in detail very soon but for now, I'd suggest the following;
What you do - for instance, a freelance writer, designer etc
Your key skills - an example, SEO, html, photoshop etc
What you offer - a high standard of creative writing, for example.
An example of your work - link to it if you can or include it with your application.
This is just a very basic template but I will go thorough an example of this on my other blog very soon.
3. Don't be afraid to use freelancing sites
There are a few freelancing sites on the net - I'd recommend using people per hour and upwork. Granted, there are a few low paid jobs on there and you have to sift through to find the good ones but its possible to get decent jobs on there and earn a decent income. I'd also suggest looking on indeed and other job sites for freelance work as well.
4. Don't set your sights too high
When you're starting out, you don't want to price your services too high as it may end up losing you work. In the beginning, I took lower paid jobs while I built up my portfolio. What you want to earn is obviously up to you but I generally think of it in terms of an hourly wage. Ask yourself how much work you can do in an hour? If say, thats writing 500 words then what you charge for a 500 word article would equal an hourly rate. Once you build up your experience, you'll be able to charge more for your skills.
5. Don't put your eggs in one basket
Sticking to writing in one niche will limit the type of work that you get offered. Try to write content in several areas. For instance, I started out writing in beauty but I'm now working more towards the travel and real estate sectors. Obviously, you don't want to spread yourself to thin. I'd also recommend getting experience in sales writing or marketing if you can as this is where many higher paid jobs are.
I hope this was somewhat helpful if you're thinking of making the transition to freelance work. Getting started is the hardest part but once you have a few jobs under your belt, its really easy to keep getting regular work providing your offer a good service to clients.